EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials/Prosperity Partnership TEAM-A (PhD Studentship): New Materials and Structures that Control the Propagation of Acoustic Radiation

University of Exeter - Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2)

Statement of Research

Joint supervisors: Dr David HorsellDr Steve Hepplestone
Industry partner: QinetiQ

To develop novel acoustic sources by harnessing thermoacoustic effects. Improved acoustic sources are required for ultrasonic sensing (e.g. the Ultracane); medical scanners, security systems and multimedia dislay technology. The latter provides an example of the need to integrate optical and acoustic technologies: flat-panel displays grow thinner and more flexible, but the sound sources still generally rely on moving coil speakers invented a century ago. Within the last year, companies such as LG ('Crystal Sound') and Sony ('Acoustic Surface') have prototyped OLED displayed that are directly vibrated (again, by moving coil drivers) to produce sound from the whole screen surface. However, a far better and more practical solution would be to generate sound without any moving parts. Thermoacoustic generation becomes more efficient as the driving frequency increases (currently experimentally demonstrated up to 1MHz) making it particularly suited to ultrasonic applications. Nanomaterials such as graphene-based materials have shown great promise, but have been limited to laboratory based demonstrations. In this project the successful applicant will build upon recent work at Exeter, which has shown that it is possible to generate, amplift, mix and modulate sound in a single device, to demonstrate: underwater sound sources of high acoustic efficiency; phased-arrays for ultrasonic beam-forming and directivity; and optic-fibre-based sources.

This studentship is part of the Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials. Please see all fully funded opportunities.

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South West England